Following two lacklustre movies in the 1990s, the Mortal Kombat franchise was seemingly banished from the big screen.
The new Mortal Kombat – one of the year’s first (and possibly very few) blockbusters – has some exciting moments, but is still not very good.
It begins with a truly excellent fight sequence between Hanzo/Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub Zero (Joe Taslim).
The movie then leaps forward to the present day, where we meet struggling MMA fighter Cole (Lewis Tan) and his family.
Attacked by Sub Zero, Cole is recruited by former special-ops soldiers Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) and Jax (Mehcad Brooks).
Led by Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano), Cole and his new friends must complete in a secret fighting championship to save the world.
Like with every video game-movie adaptation, 2021’s Mortal Kombat is crippled by major story and character flaws.
The plot itself is aggressively stupid and entirely incomprehensible, particularly to those unfamiliar with the franchise.
Some of the game’s biggest and best characters are given plenty of screen-time, with Sonya, Jax, and Kano (Josh Lawson) benefiting the most.
Lawson, playing a mix of Mark “Chopper” Reid and Mel Gibson, delivers a deliciously maniacal performance, and steals every scene he’s in.
Sadly, as the ‘audience avatar’, Cole is an extremely bland and uninspiring character.
Tan gives it his all, but is ultimately defeated by woeful dialogue and a predictable character arc.
Many of the movie’s foes – including Mileena, Goro and Kabal – are treated more like obstacles and plot devices, than actual characters.
Perth director Simon McQuoid delivers a couple of thrilling fight sequences, filled with bone-breaking moves and buckets of blood.
Mortal Kombat is by no means the worst video-game adaptation ever made, but is still a colossal disappointment.
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
In cinemas now